Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fares hobble transit...

From LightRailNow:

Charlotte:New light rail line's ridership exceeds forecast by 35%

....One problem that might have been constraining even greater public use of the new LRT service is "malfunctioning ticket kiosks" (ticket vending machines, commonly known as TVMs), which, says the Observer "are still bothering riders...."


Solution: make the train fare-free. The riders are reducing global warming, why make them pay extra for something that benefits all of us?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Free public transit works.

....The German town of Templin is another positive example of fare-free transit. Since 1997 the purchase of a ticket has been obsolete in several small German cities, including Templin (14,000 inhabitants). A study carried out for the German Federal Ministry of Transportation investigated and evaluated the benefits of fare-free schemes using Templin as reference (Keuchel et al. 2000). Overall, the results are fairly positive and encouraging—the benefits outweigh the costs by far. This could lead to a dominance of pull policies over push policies. Is this the beginning of a paradigm shift in policies aimed at solving environmental problems of transportation?...

Link to the report

autos never were necessary


Streetcars

When Minnesota's first electric streetcars were introduced in 1888, hundreds of people lined up to try them. The electric streetcars delivered both passengers and mail quickly and efficiently. The streetcars were a symbol of the boom that the Twin Cities were experiencing at the end of the 19th century: wherever new tracks were built, new land was developed, and the cities expanded. The remarkable success of the electric streetcar in urban service led to its use in rural and intercity operation. The term "interurban" was first used in 1890 to designate the intercity streetcar line between Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and came to be used nationwide to denote intercity operations in general. Streetcars were an elegant and non-polluting form of public transportation that brought the upper and lower classes of Minnesota together for almost seventy years, until they were finally displaced by the rise of the automobile in the 1950s.

Friday, December 21, 2007

What is the payback from free transit?


• A regular rush-hour driver wastes an average of 99 gallons of gasoline a year due to traffic. The average cost of the time lost in rush hour traffic is $1,160 per person.

more...

http://www.cfte.org/factoids/default.asp

Thursday, December 20, 2007

private auto system doesn't work


It's starting to sink in...


"... companies are quietly rejecting Atlanta because of traffic. He cited MeadWestvaco, which relocated its headquarters —and hundreds of new jobs— to Richmond, Va., instead of Atlanta because of traffic... "

http://www.ajc.com/green/content/metro/stories/2007/12/17/traffic_1218_web.html

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fare-Free in N - Y - C.

Ted Kheel shows how free public transit can work.

Thank you, Streetsblog for publicizing his work.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

U.S. in death grip of carbon lobby

Monbiot...

... Since 1990, the energy and natural resources sector (mostly coal, oil, gas and electricity) has given $418m to federal politicians in the US(13). Transport companies have given $355m(14). ... The big polluters favour the Republicans, but most of them also fund Democrats. During the 2000 presidential campaign, oil and gas companies lavished money on George Bush, but they also gave Al Gore $142,000(15), while transport companies gave him $347,000(16). The whole US political system is in hock to people who put their profits ahead of the biosphere.

http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2007/12/17/hurray-were-going-backwards/

Sunday, December 16, 2007

autos + bicycles = carnage

It's that simple. a + b = c.

A message to cycling advocates. Do you really want your children to navigate a bicycle through auto traffic? Do you really think they can avoid the danger? Instead of encouraging more cycling let's curtail the private auto. As the danger is reduced, then cycling will naturally proliferate and reach critical mass.

How to do it? Let's stop penalizing the people who are using public transportation. Let's remove the user fee (fare) and fund this public good from general tax revenue. It is not a dream, it is working right now in many places. The more it grows, the more people will experience the pleasures of auto-free living. Eventually the private auto will become a rarity again.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

China invests, U.S.A. regresses.


Beijing is building 561 km of subway lines in 7 years [story from Wired]. Meanwhile in the U.S., Los Angeles officials serve their carbon/auto lobby masters and plan to cripple their current meager transit investment by spending $30 million to install turnstyles.